A work by Antonia Oikonomou
Revised, Reworked, Revisited
At the Alternative Stage - Greek National Opera
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
16 April 2019
For the purposes of "ELPIDA-Association of friends of children with cancer" *
The piece is an ode to Michelangelo’s artistry as materialised in one of his most crucial sculptures: The Pieta.
The Pieta (1498–1499) captures the moment when the body of Christ lies on the lap of the Virgin Mary after his Deposition from the cross of his martyrdom. Despite the iconographic complexity of this emotionally charged moment, Michelangelo succeeds in expressing all aspects of this intricate scene in an effective and holistic manner. The experience of this masterpiece is manifold as it may evoke different and contradictory emotional reactions to its viewers. The idea of a mother accepting the inevitable doom of her son, alludes to a scene of a tragic death but, surprisingly enough, inspires a sense of immense relief. The unbearable but, still, necessary mourning. One is found in absolute awe in front of the Pieta, because of its divine connotations, its immense sense of exultation, despite its tragic nature.
The notion of the body is key for the understanding of Michelangelo’s artistic oeuvre. Throughout is life he focused on the exaggerated depiction of the musculature of the human figure and on the notion of the beautiful body, not in its idealised form, but in extreme motion.
In the piece seven dancers are called upon to translate the approach of Michelangelo towards the human body into their movement on stage. From absolute stiffness and stillness to extreme motion, from resistance to acceptance: the immobility of the statue is expanded into perpetual motion, which lasts 65 minutes. Throughout the piece, the performers investigate all the aspects of death that are represented in Michelangelo’s Pieta.
The idea of PiETA II as an ode though movement, resulted from the choreographer’s view that there is an inherent predisposition for motion in the Pieta sculpture. The form of movement was elaborated and integrated as a piece of choreography and action through a close reading and extensive research of the entire work of Michelangelo and his pictorial, sculptural and poetical approaches.
The dancers recreate the images extracted from the entirety of Michelangelo’s artistic oeuvre, accompanied by one musician who performs live on stage the original soundtrack composed by Sotiris Tsolis, and by the pre-recorded musical compositions of George Kravvaritis.
Time and duration: 21:00 (65 min)
* “The “ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with cancer” was founded in 1990 by a group of women, with Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis as its President, aiming to provide support, through any means possible, to children suffering from cancer and to the families of those children. During these 29 years ELPIDA has created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece exclusively for children, a five-storey Guest House, our country’s first Oncology Hospital for children and a Volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Bank “ORAMA ELPIDAS”. ELPIDA Association continues its work tirelessly, with the aim of improving the conditions of hospitalization and life of children suffering from neoplastic diseases.”
Conceptualized | Directed | Choreographed:
Composition of pre-recorded music:
Material performed and devised by:
Labros Papanikolaou (Double Bass)
Crinoline design and construction:
Giannis Nelson Eskioglou